Homemade Lemon & Basil Ricotta

Are you like me and have this forever growing “recipe bucket-list”? Things like homemade fruit leathers, giant cinnamon rolls have snuck their way onto my mile long list, but on the very tippy-top of that long list was to make my own ricotta cheese. It was when I saw Megan’s recipe for Lemon Basil Ricotta Cheese (courtesy of the fine folks of America’s Test Kitchen), I knew it was time to cross that recipe off of my list and get elbow deep into some ricotta cheese baby.

First of all I had no idea how easy it was, or else I would have made it a long time ago! You just need a few ingredients, cheesecloth and a trusty digital thermometer and poof, ricotta. This recipe is light and bright from the lemon and basil, which complements the ricotta’s smooth and creamy texture. But if you desire plain ricotta just simply leave out the lemon and basil.

This stuff is good. Reeeal good. It’s safe to say I won’t be buying store bought ricotta ever again. Period.

Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil
The recipe calls for whole milk, I suppose you could try to make it with two percent or even skim, but whole milk is where it’s at. The creamy factor is out of this world!

Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil
Make sure to place cheesecloth on your grocery list, along with a digital thermometer that clips to your pot, if you don’t already have one in your kitchen.

Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil
Start by squeezing a few lemons and straining out all the pulp and seeds. My lemons were mighty juicy, so it only took 2 to get 2/3 cup of lemon juice. But always buy a couple extra just in case.

Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil
Line a mesh strainer or a colander with a few layers of cheesecloth and set it inside the deepest—and I mean deepest—bowl you have.

Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil
In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, pour in an entire gallon of milk.

Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil
While you patiently wait for the milk to heat up to 185ºF, stir … stir … stir! It will help prevent the milk from scalding.

Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil
The moment the milk reaches 185ºF, remove the pot from the heat and pour in the lemon juice. Now we wait, and specifically directed, DO NOT DISTURB for 25 minutes! In this time the lemon juice will coagulate the milk to form the curds, which will be the ricotta!

Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil
The moment the buzzer rings, pour the ricotta slowly into the cheesecloth-lined strainer. I recommend doing this step by a sink in case you need to drain out some liquid from the bowl.

Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil
I twisted the cheesecloth and squeezed to get the most moisture out.

Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil
If you wanted more of a loose ricotta, don’t squeeze, just stop draining when the liquid stops flowing freely.

Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil
Just look at that cheese!

Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil
Grab a few fresh basil leaves, roll and mince the heck out of them until you get 1/3 cup.

Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil
Throw the basil in with the fresh (and still warm) ricotta!

Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil
Zest in half a lemon.

Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil
Season with some salt and black pepper, and then gently fold it all together until the lemon and basil are incorporated.

Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil
Transfer the ricotta to a container with a tight fitting lid and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil
I literally can’t stop thinking about how delicious this cheese tasted and how easy it was to prepare! You can spread it on bread, bake it in pasta—the options are endless! Until you run out and that’s a total bummer deal. But now you know just how simple it is to whip up some ricotta in your very own kitchen! So go give it a try!

Be sure to stop by Megan’s newly revamped blog Wanna Be a Country Cleaver. It’s where she’s cooking her way through life, dishing up one after one fun and delicious recipes. You could also take a peek in her recipe box here on Tasty Kitchen and you’ll see what I mean! Thank you Megan for sharing this ricotta recipe with us. I know my life won’t be the same!

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16 Responses to “Homemade Lemon & Basil Ricotta”

  1. #
    1
    Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga — January 3, 2012 at 6:38 am

    I make kefir and komboucha, havent tried my hand at cheese. You have me intrigued!

  2. #
    2
    Bev Weidner (Bev Cooks) — January 3, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    I saw this on yesterday on TK and my face fell off in a river of drool. Nice. freaking. job.

  3. #
    3
    Heather (Heather's Dish) — January 3, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    when i saw this on TK i just about died…it looks so fun to make!

  4. #
    4
    Jessica @ How Sweet — January 3, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    I can't get enough of this. Seriously!!

  5. #
    5
    Tiffany {A Clove of Garlic} — January 5, 2012 at 1:26 am

    Sounds amazingly delicious. I have never made cheese before, but this sounds like something I could do!

  6. #
    6
    Yesim — January 8, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    looks amazing..

  7. #
    7
    Emily — January 8, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    I cannot not believe how easy that is…of course I will have to go out and buy a thermometer but that will not be a problem. I am dreaming about all of the possibilities out there for how to eat this…yum!

  8. #
    8
    Kiri W. — January 8, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    Wow, this looks amazing! I love ricotta, regardless of the fat content. Would this work with skim milk? Man, I am so tempted. You've just expanded my bucket list! ;)

  9. #
    9
    RavieNomNoms — January 9, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    Oh my! I am sure that is amazing!! How delicious!

  10. #
    10
    Tiffany — January 13, 2012 at 5:26 am

    Awesome post, I had no idea how to make ricotta, can't believe how simple it sounds! I want to give it a try, thanks for sharing!

  11. #
    11
    Lizzy T — January 27, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    Great recipe! I made it this morning and it's fantastic. My only question is that I didn't get that much ricotta. Definitely not 1.5 C (that I would need for your stuffed shells recipe.) DId I do something wrong?

  12. #
    12
    Laurie {Simply Scratch} — January 27, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    Lizzy, I really don't know. Hmmm, did you use a gallon of whole milk? Really racking my brain on that one because I got two cups total out of it.. not sure what could have went wrong. :(

  13. #
    13
    Lizzy T — January 27, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    Hi,
    I used a gallon. Maybe the temp was off my a degree? It's still excellent and I'll just have to eat it on bread. Thanks. Live your blog. Maybe the southwest chicken chili last night. I'm only sorry I didnt double it.

  14. #
    14
    Laurie {Simply Scratch} — January 27, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Well that's a bummer about the ricotta… but I'm glad you liked the chili! Have a super weekend!

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